back to article Tech CEO thrown in the clink for seven years for H-1B gang-master role: Crim farmed out foreign staff as cheap labor

Pradyumna Kumar Samal, the CEO of two US tech firms, was this month jailed for seven years for what prosecutors called “the largest and most sophisticated H-1B scheme ever prosecuted" in Seattle. Samal pleaded guilty to defrauding the US government by lying on visa applications and failing to pay over $1m in employment taxes. …

  1. perlcat

    Why am I not surprised?

    Pretty much S.O.P. for many outfits.

  2. Tomato42 Silver badge

    Employer, and a CEO at that, put into clink for immigration crimes?!

    Did I woke up in parallel universe today or what?

    1. MadonnaC

      not really, he's got the wrong colour skin, and no equivalent friends that might have put a stop to it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "wrong colour skin"

        So people with black, white or yellow skin get away with this sort of crime all the time?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "wrong colour skin"

          Don't be silly, only the white ones will get away with this. And only certain white ones - they have to have the right background and right friends, and be male (see Elizabeth Holmes and Martha Stewart for examples of crimes that privileged white men get away with that white women get thrown to the wolves for)

          1. Cederic Silver badge

            Re: "wrong colour skin"

            I fear any analysis of prosecution and incarceration rates by gender proves the nonsense of your claims.

          2. ds6
            Windows

            Re: "wrong colour skin"

            Have any of you stopped to think that—maybe, just maybe—good criminals don't get caught, and as such can't be put to metrics? For all we know there could be an underground squad of gay North Korean shemale Muslims that steal wallets and break kneecaps in the suburbs that have never been caught.

        2. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: "wrong colour skin"

          White, yes; yellow, maybe; black, no.

    2. InsaneGeek

      Let's be honest it wasn't immigration crimes that got him, it was the lack of paying taxes that got him. The government let's employers skate around immigration laws all day long, but not pay the IRS... well the government gives a real shit about their money. Defrauding others meh whatever, just say you wont do it again and walk away, but defrauding the IRS?? Oh hell no!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Just like Al Capone!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yes they fall short on immigration law in a lot of ways

        H1B abuse isn't even the worst of it. What they really need to crack down on is employing illegal aliens. Trying to stop illegal immigration by building walls can never work so long as there are better jobs and better lives for their family waiting on the other side. If they send the people employing them to jail, the jobs will dry up and you wouldn't even need to mark the border (i.e. like our huge undefended border with Canada)

        1. tyrfing

          Re: Yes they fall short on immigration law in a lot of ways

          Well, there are illegal aliens from Canada too, but they tend to blend in.

          1. Niarbeht

            Re: Yes they fall short on immigration law in a lot of ways

            I'm sure they're sorry, eh?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Yes they fall short on immigration law in a lot of ways

            What's the incentive for people from Canada to illegally immigrate to the US? They don't fill their 'allocation' of immigration so Canadians can legally immigrate much more easily than Mexicans. Their economy is pretty close to the US's, so there isn't an economic reason to come like there is for Mexicans, either.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Yes they fall short on immigration law in a lot of ways

              Cheaper taxes.

              I lived in Bellingham, Washington, USA for a few years. A lot of my coworkers were Canadians down from Vancouver, BC that lied on their applications, claiming to live on the US side. There is no personal income tax in Washington State. I knew of a few that had figured out how to game the system and pay zero taxes.

              1. ds6
                Windows

                Re: Yes they fall short on immigration law in a lot of ways

                How does the business file their taxes without a SSN? Or are they dual citizens? That would be a major red (leaf) flag.

                Or are you all hopping in the back of Bubba's pick-em-up truck and doing some carpentry?

                What? Wrong border...?

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Yes they fall short on immigration law in a lot of ways

                Yeah I wonder how they manage that, the business would either have to be cooperating with them in their tax fraud or they'd have to supply a false SSN and not only be liable for charges in Canada but also in the US!

                I wonder what the percentage of taxes + health care costs (including employer paid that you'd get if it was paid by the government) is in the US versus the tax rates in Canada where health care is free? I doubt it is nearly as large as the difference in tax rates alone would suggest.

                Besides US tax rates aren't sustainable - we're running a deficit of around $1 trillion in a year with full employment and a growing economy. Imagine how big that deficit will be when we hit our next recession. Either taxes have to go up or we need to make major cuts to the largest budget items - social security, medicare, and defense.

                1. whitepines Silver badge
                  Devil

                  Re: Yes they fall short on immigration law in a lot of ways

                  Add education to that list:

                  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/sep/07/us-education-spending-finland-south-korea

                  It's cleverly hidden in the property taxes though, for instance for the state of Oregon:

                  https://westlinnoregon.gov/finance/where-do-my-taxes-go

                  By hiding it in the property tax, everyone has to pay it (even people below poverty level forced into renting a rat infested apartment, since the landlord will need to recover that tax from the tenants), yet there is no real accountability for the tax since it doesn't show up on the federal expenditures.

                  I've heard of primary schools that are larger and nicer than most business parks, funded by this scheme. Educators and administrators making double or triple what private industry pays for professional workers, with full pension plans. And children from the USA still fall behind in maths and technology by almost every world metric.

                  The USA almost makes the EU taxing system seem sane.

                  Almost.

  3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Stirling work by that spiritual advisor

    The unsung hero of this whole saga, but I wonder whether his advice was intentional or ignorant?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stirling work by that spiritual advisor

      It's like I stepped into an episode of Silicon Valley

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Next Time...

    He will keep the jobs in India and take the work there like all the other so called Tier 1 Indian Consutlancies (eg TATA) who employ many of their staff on contracts where the staff have to pay the company a bond just to get the job and said staff won't say boo to a goose (or the Hindi equivalent) even if their managers make the PHB in Dilbert seem competent. My job 'moved' to India twice this decade. After the last debacle and it truly was and one that was a close rival to the BA IT Meltdown, I gave up on IT and spend most of my time making things in my workshop. I have zero inclination to go back despite 30 years experience.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prison seems a bit unfair...

    Prison seems a bit unfair, after all he's only a lying, cheating, scheming, embezzling, shit of a human being with no regard whatsoever for his slaves workers - in other words the norm for a lot of US bosses.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Prison seems a bit unfair...

      ... and the current incumbent of the White House?

      1. simonlb Silver badge

        Re: Prison seems a bit unfair...

        You need to be declared bankrupt multiple times as well to be eligible for that job.

        1. G Olson

          Re: Prison seems a bit unfair...

          What type of bankrupt -- fiscal or moral?

          1. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

            Re: Prison seems a bit unfair...

            If the current president is anything to go by, then both.

  6. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Makes you laugh, dunnit..?

    Supposedly smart enough to come up with “the largest and most sophisticated H-1B scheme ever prosecuted" but totally dumb enough to believe a "spiritual advisor".

    Burn baby burn.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The best definition of outsourcing I've seen.

    No wonder this country is going to hell in a handcart.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    on the advice of his spiritual advisor who told him it would be safe

    ok, until that moment I thought he's just your average, brazen criminal who takes advantage of the system being too slow and cumbersome, aka left hand, right hand, etc. But when he flew back he revealed he's a true mastermind :) On the other hand, he might have simply assumed that the "left hand / right hand" continues, so he miscalculated badly (or was set up by his "spiritual leader, lol). This reminds me of a my (ex) friend, who grew to have a very condescending opinion of the US police, based on his several encounters with local traffic cops and local courts. So, possibly based on this experience, he went on to steal something from an institution where, he thought, nobody would even notice, let alone, give a fuck about it (and, given the circumstances, he wasn't completely wrong). However, his previous experience and miscalculation was his downfall, the institution did report the theft, and it just happened to be a federal crime... Once the bureau people were on the case, it was all done and dusted in a couple of days, the amount of detail they collected on that person in that short time was pretty comprehensive.

  9. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    Greed

    Reading the article, it looks like a familiar story. Simple subversion of the H1B would probably have been something he would have got away with. FEvading taxes and other abuses (OK, this is the US, maybe not) will be the root of his downfall.

    1. tyrfing

      Re: Greed

      To evade taxes successfully in the US, you have to be a Democrat.

  10. Art Jannicelli

    Re: Xpenology

    I read an article a couple of years ago arguing the H1B system should be switched from a lottery to a blind bid auction.

    If your company claims you cannot find the talent you need at any price in the US... you should have to put your money where your mouth is.

    At the moment the H1B system feels like it is for companies looking for DBA's, Devops, and Architects they don't want to pay over $30 an hour for.

    If companies had to bid for this talent, they would look onshore first with fair compensation.

  11. DougW
    Pint

    beer

    His spiritual advisor deserves a pint.

  12. Erik4872

    Surprising to say the least

    The big Indian consultancies (Tata, Infosys, Wipro, etc.) have all sorts of tricks to get around the visa rules. They're just not as obvious about it as this guy was. They've also paid the "lobbying fees" to mold the laws into a position where they can effectively work around them. I'm just surprised any executive actually got in trouble for this.

    I'm not opposed to the H-1B program because it is a way for companies to easily bring in truly qualified people who possess a skillset that isn't readily available. I am opposed to the secondary labor market it creates in IT and development. I know the letter of the law says they have to pay a prevaling wage, but in my experience it never happens. It pushes companies to lower costs by offering them captive labor that will do whatever they ask for half the cost of an FTE. There's just no competing against that in organizations that hate having to spend anything on IT in the first place.

    1. DougW

      Re: Surprising to say the least

      Probably the worst (best) example of H-1B abuse comes from Disney. They hired a full replacement of staff and made the departing (fired, dismissed, turfed, booted) IT staff train them. The employees sued but lost.

      https://money.cnn.com/2016/01/25/technology/disney-h1b-workers/

  13. Oengus Silver badge

    Karma

    He was arrested at Seattle’s international airport when he returned in August 2018 – on the advice of his spiritual advisor who told him it would be safe.

    The spiritual advisor saw that he needed to reset his karma. He also said he would be safe not that he wouldn't be arrested and jailed.

  14. Oengus Silver badge

    Nothing changes

    Forgery, lies and deceit were part of the everyday routine at Azimetry and Divensi

    I picked up a book here that was over 150 years old.

    Title - Indian Domestic Economy

    Printed at "The press of the society for promoting Christian knowledge, Vepery"

    5th edition printed in 1860

    The opening paragraph of Chapter 1 is

    The misdeeds of Indian servants appear to be a general and unfailing complaint amongst all, whether we take the new-comer on his arrival, or the long resident, without reference to any particular place; the complaint of them is universal - laziness, dishonesty, falsehood, with a host of other vices, seem to be inherent in them.

    In 150 years they only seem to have "enhanced" the practice. In the last project I worked on with an Indian company I saw this repeatedly. They would lie to get the work. They would lie and cover up the capability of the system. When pushed on a point they would deflect or blame everyone but themselves. When I left the project (after go-live) I saw issues that had been swept under the carpet or results had been manipulated to get the system in coming up and despite reassurances they would be fixed immediately 6 months later they are still an issue.

  15. Noonoot

    it's all the guru's fault

    "He was arrested at Seattle’s international airport when he returned in August 2018 – on the advice of his spiritual advisor who told him it would be safe."

    LOL you're kidding me. This says it all.

    What's that got to do with the colour of your face?

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